“I’m going away soon.”
“Who are you going with?”
“I’m actually going on my own.”
“You’re going on your own?!”
The above conversation is something that I’ve lived through quite a few times in the past few weeks/months. It’s always said with some sense of sympathy, as if I should be pitied because I chose to travel alone. Yes I admit the prospect of travelling anywhere new alone (especially abroad) does scare me but I’m an adult and if I make the decision to travel alone surely people should respect that. Why does anyone doing anything alone have to be pitied? Why can’t it be celebrated? Why are people so uncomfortable by the thought of anyone doing something alone? Not everyone needs a constant companion to function.
I’ll admit that when I see people out on their own or in a restaurant alone I do sometimes wonder why they’re alone. Not because I’m uncomfortable but because I wish that I had the guts to do that. I’ve always been a very shy person and I don’t really like going to places on my own. There’s been multiple times I’ve wanted to go somewhere or do something yet I haven’t because of fear. And not even fear of being out in public by myself, but fear that other people will see me alone and think I’m weird or make fun of me.
I don’t mind travelling alone if I know that I’m meeting someone on the other side or if I’m going straight home (e.g. travelling back to uni after being home). However the idea of travelling somewhere, even locally, and then spending a significant amount of time alone in a place used to terrify me. This is extremely limiting as there are some things that just aren’t in my hometown and I’d have to travel for, even if that meant alone.
I am completely fine travelling by public transport (although the fear of getting on the wrong train never goes away). Change overs sometimes get stressful (I’m looking at you New Street) but I know the place well enough to have an idea of where to go. If I was to travel to a completely new place and have to navigate my way round I’d be stressed to the max but I know I could do it. Travelling the London Underground is a whole other level of stress that I cannot (and probably will never be able to) deal with. Buses are okay but again travelling to new places and not knowing exactly where to get off stresses me out. I have to do thorough research into the bus route and the stop I need to get off etc.
Back to the blog post title and the reason I am writing this post, I am travelling to Amsterdam alone next week. Given that I’ve told you I get stressed travelling alone to a new place (and I’ve never been to Amsterdam before) you’re probably wondering why the hell I’m travelling alone. The simple answer is, I don’t want my fear to hold me back forever. There is so much in the world to see and do, I don’t want to stay in my small town forever. Being a Television Production student living in the North West of England sucks. You may think I have opportunity because of MediaCity, but the likelihood of me getting a job there is minimal. There are so many more production companies elsewhere (mainly London admittedly) but when you can’t afford to move that far away just like that, what are you supposed to do?
When I heard that VidCon was coming to Europe I was so excited, and not for the reason most people would think. I want to network with people and learn new things. I’m honestly not that fussed about meeting YouTuber’s like others would be. I chose the Creator Ticket Track purely so I could go to more panels, workshops etc to learn more about online video creation, which is a more viable career for me than TV. Whilst at VidCon I will also be volunteering, which in turn will force me to meet new people.
Although I am technically travelling alone, I’m not going to be alone for the weekend. I’ll just be with people I don’t know yet.
Yes I am travelling alone. Yes I am scared and apprehensive. Yes I wish I was going with someone I know. I need to do this in order to progress in my life and career. All I ask is that people support my choice to travel alone. Do not pity me.
(Featured Image credit: pixabay)